Praying To Die But Living To Suffer

By , March 10, 2019

“Why did I not perish at birth?”
Job 3:11 (NIV)

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When I was in Africa I was taken out into a most primitive village area. It was far from paved roads and electricity and other conveniences I enjoy in Canada. We were met by a group of villagers but they were not the people we came to see. The person we came to meet with was a man who had leprosy for many years. He was blind. He no longer had fingers or toes. His teeth were gone and he looked about 75 years old.

I was amazed at his appearance because I was told he was only about 45-50 years old. We met his mother who had all her faculties and was one of his main helpers. We had to speak to him through a translator. We brought with us a blanket for him and bags of maize the staple food of the country. He was indeed the most pitiful person I had ever met in my life.

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“All I want is a little justice!”

By , March 9, 2019

“for the transgression of my people he was stricken”
Isaiah 53:8

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It has been many years now that I have been working with people in pain as a Christian minister. I have met some very wonderful individuals who have taught me much about how to live with adversity. The most rewarding aspect of what I have done through the years is not the monetary consideration but rather the honour of being alongside spiritual giants who glorify God in their sorrow and do not waste their suffering on things that do not matter in the light of eternity.

These people are often in the back waters of Christian things. These gentle people are rarely noticed as the assumed “giants” of the faith trumpet their horns for all to hear. The real giants walk quietly and wonderfully for their Lord. They are truly the strong ones and God is glorified by their quiet yet consistent witness to the sufficiency of God’s grace when in torment.

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A Love That Lasts

By , March 8, 2019

“Having loved His own who were in the world,
He loved them to the end”
John 13:1

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I recall as if it was yesterday (it was almost 50 years ago!) our professor of Greek working with us students on translating John 13:1. His name appears in the list of translators for the NIV Bible. He was an internationally known scholar. He was trying to get us to understand the emphasis John was placing on the tenacious love of Jesus for the disciples.

“Gentlemen” he said, “Jesus loved them straight through to the end!” His arm shot forward until it was fully extended as he said those words. His finger pointing at us.

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“She/he did it first!”

By , March 7, 2019

“he humbled himself”
Philippians 2:8

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It seems every child born into the world has programmed into their minds the idea that if someone does something mean or nasty to you, then you have the right, if not the responsibility, to do the same back to them. What parent has not learned that when Johnny hits his little sister and he is reprimanded for it, he will immediately say, “Well, she did it to me first.” That is, to Johnny’s mind, reason enough to hit his sister.

It is our duty as parents to teach our children that we are not always to imitate the behaviour of others in this life. The Bible does not say, “Do unto others what they have done unto you.” Rather it says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” So then, imitation is not necessarily the right or necessary thing to do to others.

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Choosing To Die

By , March 6, 2019

“In the future you will see the Son of Man
sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One
and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Matthew 26:64

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Jesus was on trial for His life. The trial was held at an illegal time. The witnesses could not agree on any charge concerning Him. They lied and perjured themselves but no one noticed. Justice was denied Him. He had not been allowed time to prepare a defence. He had not been properly arraigned. He had not been told the charges against Him. The ones who had vowed to follow Him to the death had fled and left Him alone when arrested. He was about to be physically tormented. He was certainly under threat of death and He was made to testify against Himself, an illegal manoeuvre by the prosecution.

What can anyone say when under the gun like this? The treatment that Jesus had already received, and would receive in the next few hours was unprecedented. It seems unimaginable that the One who had done so much good could generate such hatred against Himself. Even those who hated Him the most confessed He was doing miracles to heal and resurrect people from the dead. They had tried to best Him in theological arguments and He shut them down. Wisely they gave up on that line of attack.

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